Oracle Supports Virtualization On X86 Systems With Its Own Xen-Based Hypervisor

Galen
There’s
been some interesting news from Oracle today — they have announced that they
will support virtualization of a long list of ten or so Oracle applications on
their own flavor of the Xen hypervisor, which they dubbed Oracle VM. In
addition to applications like Oracle Database, Application Server, PeopleSoft
Enterprise, and Siebel CRM, customers can run other non-Oracle apps on Oracle
VM as well. You’ll be able to download it for free on the 14th,
though you must pay for support ($499 per year per 2-CPU system, or $999 per
year for a system with unlimited CPUs). The details of the announcement can be
had on Oracle’s web site.

I’m
somewhat conflicted, since customers will be happy that Oracle will officially
support virtualization on x86 platforms — yet they’ve just created another
flavor of Xen. According to Oracle, this was necessary to integrate with Oracle
management tools and fix various bugs. I understand the need for Oracle to
“own” the hypervisor it has committed to support, though it seems unlikely that
another offshoot of Xen will be popular for much besides running Oracle products.
Consider that Oracle also offers its own version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux,
called Oracle Enterprise Linux, clustered file system, storage, and system
management tools — it’s evident that Oracle is destined to be its own
self-contained IT infrastructure.

We will
have to come to terms with managing different pools of virtualized resources
under the control of different tools like Sun xVM (a Xen variant), Citrix
(XenSource), Oracle (another Xen variant), not to mention VMware — who runs the
largest number of x86 virtual machines today. Soon Microsoft will enter the
fray with Viridian, which has officially been renamed Hyper-V, as well as
enhancements to MS System Center for managing both Hyper-V and VMware. Whether
they admit it or not, each of these vendors is readying tools to manage
competing virtualization stacks — not to mention a host of management software
providers like Symantec, IBM, CA, and HP. Management is where you should focus
your standardization efforts — figure out which consoles you need to run your
multiple virtualized environments.

By Galen Schreck

Check out Galen's Research.